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There is no Kpofire activity at Ogu/Bolo, we are a transit community — Nemieboka

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By Amaike Ihuoma Okoronkwo Port Harcourt

The campaign against black soot’s and illegal refining of petroleum products by illegal operators known as ‘Kpofire’ as commenced by the Rivers State governor Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike  has been launched to the good people of Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of the State.

This campaign was led by the Executive Chairman of the Local Government Hon. Barrister Vincent Nemieboka in a town hall meeting with stakeholders, the Amanyanabo, cabinet chiefs, youths and women of the area.

According to the Chairman, his office as the local government chairman would go to any length to carry out the assignment as instructed by the Rivers state governor Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

In his speech to the people at the community square, he stressed that the Rivers State Government would no longer tolerate any form of illegal refining in the entire state.

“In the last two weeks, the governor of Rivers State had been embarking on a patriotic fight against illegal bunkering and bunkers in Rivers State. He is doing this as a result of the fact that the illegal bunkering is detrimental to our surroundings and survival.

“It had generated and still generating massively the hydrocarbons that are affecting the atmosphere. In the last few years we have observed the problems of cancer, respiratory diseases and what have you which are some of the consequences of these nefarious activities.

“Efforts have been made by him to approach the federal government to help in the fight against illegal bunkering and illegal oil mining in Rivers State. Unfortunately these efforts didn’t achieve any positive result.

“But as a government and as the governor of the state, he decided to mobilise the state as to fight these nefarious and criminal activities. On the bases of that, about two weeks ago he directed all local government chairmen to join in the fight to ensure that these crimes are fought to a stand-still.

“I am here to carry out that directive but before we do that, I thought that it is necessary to have this advocacy visit. We have spoken to the people in our language and we believe that they understand and appreciate our position.

“I am also stressing the fact that all those who are involved in these activities should stop, if they don’t stop anyone caught would be prosecuted including those who are selling these products because if there are no lucrative sales outlets, their production would be reduced drastically.

“We have also been directed to destroy their facilities and that we are embarking on but the challenge we are facing is that Ogu/Bolo is not a production location but a transit community where these products are transported to other states.

“In the last two years the Nigerian military had fought the kpofire businesses at Bolo community where it was predominant to a standstill, all the production facilities were destroyed right now it is no longer there. Ogu/Bolo has a unique problem which remains that we are used as a transit community where all these illegal products are transported massively to other states because of our proximity to the seaport.”

He took time to unravel pollution and other environmental damages residents of the state have been faced with which are not the same with residents of Abuja and other states outside Rivers State and some other states of the Niger Delta where these crimes are predominant.

He went further to warn that his task force ably led Honourable Daniel the secretary of the Ogu/Bolo Locak Government Council is duty bound to arrest culprits who would not heed to the governors instructions in Ogu/Bolo council area.

In his words, “The Rivers State Governor has empowered every Local Government chairman to even pull down facilities including houses of these criminals should we find out their hiding places, hence this may be the only time you have otherwise you would face the wrath of the law.”

Responding the Amanyanabo of Ogu/Bolo, HRH King Acheseinimie Micah Frank JP, KSC Bolo-Luka Viii told journalists that there are no kpofire activities within their local council rather the wind that blows the soot goes everywhere, hence they are present to inform their people that the Rivers state government would deal decisively with anyone found carrying out such an activity amongst them.

Some of the respondents who lent their voices included religious leaders, traditional leaders women and youths.

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ECOWAS Court nullifies ECOWAS Commission staff’s dismissal

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice has nullified the dismissal of Mr Momodu Cham, a former staff of the Commission, saying it breached Article 69 of the ECOWAS staff regulations.

Cham had filed the suit following his dismissal from his position as a Procurement Officer with the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (GIABA), a specialised ECOWAS agency.

The applicant, a community citizen residing in Banjul, Gambia, had joined the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) and its President, as first and second Respondents, respectively, in the suit challenging his sack.

Delivering judgment, Justice Dupe Atoki, the Judge Rapporteur, held that the cessation of Cham’s salary by the Commission before the exhaustion of the appeal process was arbitrary, unlawful, null, and void.

According to Justice Atoki, the action of the Commission is contrary to Article 73(b) of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

The Court, therefore, ordered the Respondents to pay Cham his salary arrears and other entitlements from January 2021 to June 2021, as compensation.

It further ordered the Commission to pay Mr Cham’s salaries and emoluments from July to December 2021 as compensation for the unlawful dismissal.

“Requesting an on-the-spot response to charges without prior notice or an opportunity to prepare a defense violates procedural safeguards outlined in the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

“The regulations are designed to ensure an Applicant’s rights are fully maintained until the Council’s final decision.

“Consequently, the summary dismissal of the Applicant by the 2nd Respondent breached Article 69 of the regulation.

“Therefore, the cessation of the Applicant’s salary and other emoluments after invoking the right of appeal is a violation of Article 73(b) of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations,” Justice Atoki held.

The Court, however, declined to grant any orders for mandatory injunctions against the Commission and reinstatement of the applicant .

The Applicant had contended at the trial that he was suspended on July 11, 2019, following a forensic audit report by Ernst and Young UK, which implicated him in irregularities related to the purchase of IT equipment for GIABA.

He said that on Jan. 26, 2021, he was summarily dismissed, and his salaries and emoluments were withheld in violation of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

Cham had prayed the court to grant him several reliefs, including a declaration that his dismissal was arbitrary, null, and void.

He also sought an order setting aside his dismissal and the immediate payment of his salary arrears and other entitlements from January 2021.

The applicant had also prayed for his reinstatement to his position as a Procurement Officer and compensation for costs incurred in prosecuting the suit.

The Respondents, in their defense, had however, maintained that the applicant was properly suspended and later dismissed following a forensic audit report and a subsequent query.

They had also argued that the dismissal was appropriate due to the allegations of gross misconduct, embezzlement, theft, fraud, and abuse of trust.

The three-member panel also had Justices Gberi-bè Ouattara, presiding, and  Sengu Mohamed Koroma, as a member.

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Tinubu names National Theatre after Wole Soyinka

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President Bola Tinubu has named the National Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, after Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka.

Tinubu announced this in a tribute he wrote to celebrate Soyinka in commemoration of his 90th birthday.

The tribute dated “Professor Wole Soyinka at 90: Tribute to a national treasure and global icon,” was personally signed by the President and made available to journalists on Friday.

Tinubu expressed his delight to join admirers around the world in celebrating Soyinka, adding that July 13 would be the climax of the series of local and international activities held in his honour.

Tinubu wrote, “Professor Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Literature Prize in 1986, deserves all the accolades as he marks the milestone of 90 years on earth. Having beaten prostate cancer, this milestone is a fitting testament to his ruggedness as a person and the significance of his work.

“It is also fitting we celebrate this national treasure while he is still with us. I am, accordingly, delighted to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as the Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

Tinubu stated that Nigeria not only celebrates Soyinka’s remarkable literary achievements, but also his unwavering dedication to the values of human dignity and justice.

When he turned 80, I struggled to find words to encapsulate his achievements because they were simply too vast. Since then, he has added to his corpus with his series of Interventions, which have been published in many volumes.

“Professor Soyinka is a colossus, a true renaissance person blessed with innumerable talents. He is a playwright, actor, poet, human rights and political activist, composer, and singer.

“He is a giant best riding not just the literary world but our nation, Africa, and the world,” he averred.

According to the President, Soyinka is one Nigerian whose influence transcends the Nigerian space and who inspires people around the world, explaining that since his youth, he has been a vocal critic of oppression and injustice wherever it exists, from apartheid in South Africa to racism in the United States.

“Beginning from his 20s, he took personal risks for the sake of our nation. His courage was evident when he attempted to broker peace at the start of the civil war in 1967. Detained for two years for his bravery, he narrated his experience in his prison memoir, ‘The Man Died.’

“Despite deprivation and solitary confinement, his resolve to speak truth to power and fight for the marginalised was further strengthened.

“Our paths crossed during our struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election,” Tinubu stated.

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Tinubu sympathises with victims of building collapse in Plateau

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President Bola Tinubu receives the news of the tragic collapse of a school building, which resulted in multiple deaths and many surviving victims in Jos, Plateau, with profound grief.

His spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, in a statement on Friday, said the President described the incident as a huge loss to the nation, as well as a devastating development – too excruciating to imagine.

“The President condoles with the bereaved families, families of all the victims, and the people and Government of Plateau State.

“President Tinubu commends emergency responders, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), security agencies, and all citizens involved in the search, rescue, and resuscitation efforts.

“The President assures the people of Plateau State of his fervent support at this difficult time,” said the statement.

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